top of page

The Latest at TRI

Untangling a Hairy Science with Molecular-Level Insights from Mass Spectrometry

We are pleased to announce that Dr Evelyne Maes, from AgResearch, Food & Bio-Based Products, Lincoln Research Centre, New Zealand, will present a keynote lecture at the forthcoming 9th International Conference on Applied Hair Science, titled “Untangling a hairy science with molecular-level insights from mass spectrometry”. To book your ticket go to


Human hair exposure to environmental or consumer routine-induced insults introduces molecular modifications at the protein primary structural level that cause sensory and mechanical property changes in the fibers. Accumulation of such primary level modifications can alter performance attributes enough to be discernable to the consumer. Studying hair proteins by applying mass spectrometry-based proteomics strategies allows these modifications to be characterized.

One of the modification types of interest are protein-protein crosslinks. As protein-protein crosslinks underpin many of the key mechanical properties of all mammalian hairs, understanding the natural state of crosslinks in hairs and how they respond to insult is critical in the development of new treatments. Studying these modifications with mass spectrometry, however, is highly challenging both because mammalian fibers inherently contain high levels of protein-protein crosslinks, and also because it is difficult to analyze peptides derived from these fibers without disrupting the crosslinks. Using a stepwise approach, we successfully developed specific mass spectrometric methods to characterize and map protein-protein crosslinks within human hair.

Non-crosslink modifications to amino acids also form after exposure to insults such as heat and alkali treatments. To examine the extent and nature of modifications induced by these treatments, advanced redox proteomic techniques were used to map, evaluate and characterize amino acid residue changes in human hair.

This demonstrated the utility of mass spectrometry-based approaches to significantly enhance the mapping of damage-related modifications in fibers for a broad range of protein modification types.


For more information about the conference contact us at



bottom of page